Ecology for Agriculture

Academic year: 2022-23
Course: Foundation Course Science
Credits: 3
Period: First semester

Number of hours: 24

Teacher:  Daniele Antichi (

Language of instruction: English

Learning outcomes


The student who successfully completes the course will be able to understand the basic information about the structure and the principles regulating ecosystems and agro-ecosystems. The acquired knowledge will allow the student to understand also the basic interactions between agriculture and the environment.

Assessment criteria of knowledge

The student knowledge will be assessed on his/her demonstrated ability to discuss the main course contents using the appropriate terminology during the final oral exam.


At the end of the course the student will be able to understand the basic theoretical background of ecology. He/she will be also able to read/interpret textbooks and publications related to the subject, as related to the most important terminology and concepts of ecology applied to agriculture.

Assessment criteria of skills

The student’s skills shall be evaluated taking into account his/her capacity to explain with proper terms the definition, the structure and the principles regulating ecosystems and agroecosystems.


At the end of the course the student will be able to identify in a critical perspective the major aspects of ecosystem and agroecosystem structure, functioning and weaknesses according to the basic theoretical background of agricultural ecology.

Assessment criteria of behaviors

The student’s behaviour will be evaluated through the group discussions driven by the teacher during the course.


For usefully follow the course, the student must previously have assimilated basic knowledge about biology and natural sciences.

Teaching methods

The lessons will be held using PC presentations; the didactic materials will be available at the beginning of each lesson on the Moodle of the Course. Any communication with the teacher will ordinarily take place by E-mail. Preliminary tests in the form of quiz could be presented to the students to facilitate the organization of the lectures.


Ecology: definitions and brief history. The basic principles of ecology: general theory of the systems, ecosystems. Ecosystem components: biotope (soil and climate) and biocenosis. The concept of ecological factors. Ecosystem functions: interactions between the components of the systems. Ecosystems structure: ecological niche, trophic levels, food chain, ecological pyramids. Ecosystems operating systems: concepts of autotrophy and heterotrophy, energy fluxes, biogeochemical cycles, resistance and resilience, ecological sequences. The basic principles of vegetal production: productivity (potential, real and net). Agro-ecosystems: definitions, components, main differences with ecosystems.


-E.P. Odum, 1983. Basic Ecology. CBS College Publishing.

-Didactic material provides by the teacher.

Non-attending students info

The non-attending students will be able to follow the lessons using the didactic material loaded on E-learning platform and the textbook.

Assessment methods

Individual written test composed of 4-5 short essays

In case of restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the written test will be replaced by oral interview.

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